• Question: If a patient required a lot of your time and care, how would you take care of them while still providing other patients with adequate care?

    Asked by Maariya on 16 Mar 2022.
    • Photo: Sarah Cousins

      Sarah Cousins answered on 16 Mar 2022:

      So one of the key skills that needs to be learnt is prioritisation. A patient, maybe in an emergency or life threatening situation has to come first. I would always try to ask someone else to inform the other patients that the doctor was busy dealing with an emergency and to thank them for their patience. In the GP setting it is not uncommon for a patient to take longer than their 10 minute allocated time. For example it may be clinically complex, you may need to make a referral or the patient may be upset, suffering with their mental health or hearing bad news. I would never rush the patient I was with, but then say to my next patients ‘thank you for waiting’. I will sometimes ask my reception team to let patients know if I am running very behind. Generally I find that patients don’t mind, as they know that you will then do the same, running behind if necessary, to sort their problem.

    • Photo: Samantha Garside

      Samantha Garside answered on 16 Mar 2022:

      Another view on this question, which may also be of interest.
      Some patients may need to be seen more than others due to their medical conditions and may have to attend the GP Practices or Hospitals for frequent reviews. They will have appointments booked and this is where we have shared care and patient plans in place.

    • Photo: Danielle Siberry

      Danielle Siberry answered on 19 Mar 2022:

      This happens to me a lot at work, we typically get 10 minute slots for each patient. Some people need longer as the are anxious or they need to be told the information in a different way.

      I treat every patient as an individual and can tell quickly if its going to take longer. Most of the time I allow the extra time and catch up later on in my clinic ( some appointments can be quicker) if they need time to think about something I would give them some written information to go home and read through and invite them back for another appointment to finalise their decision.

      If I’m running really behind I will ask my colleagues if anyone’s free to see my next patient for me to allow me to give that patient the care they need.

    • Photo: Heather S

      Heather S answered on 29 Mar 2022:

      I think one of the things that makes me feel really lucky in the ambulance service is that we get to deal with one job at a time. so we can spend the time that is needed with the patient we are with, and don’t know what the next job is until we have finished with that one……I really am full of admiration for GPs and those clinicians who have such small time slots to see patients, as I can imagine that must be really challenging